She was robbed! Line calling controversies and conspiracies - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
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She was robbed! Line calling controversies and conspiracies

Tonight's Serena-Jen match was a tight match ruined by those awful line calls-this has to be one of the worst called matches I've seen in years at a slam-especailly considering the round.

Does anyone recall seeing other matches with really awful calls that influenced the final outcome?

I'll try and dig up some past slam matches with line calling controversies and post them here.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 05:10 AM Thread Starter
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A match report from the 1898 US championships. This one sends chills down my spine when I read it. The loser, Marion Jones, came from "the West". Little Juliet Atkinsonhad the home court advantage. Think Serena playing Mauresmo at the French Open and you're starting to get the picture.

Add in a hot day.
On top of that these hardly gals play 3 sets out of 5-in whale bone corsets and shoes that probably made their feet bleed.

And then those match points. 5 match points! And you won't believe how badly Marion Jones was robbed on two of them!

What follows is hot off the presses-the original match report from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

**********************************************
A Tennis Battle That Was Royal
Championship play breaks a record for stubborness and quality Miss Atkinson Wins--Successfully defends her cup against Miss Jones--Latter meets with misfortunes.

Miss Juliet Atkinson is again lawn tennis champion of the women players of the United States. Good luck, superior physical condition and hard, nervy play enabled her to win yesterday at the Philadelphia Cricket Club grounds. Miss Marion Jones is the daughter of Senator Jones of Nevada.

This is a total of 26 games for Miss Atkinson and 25 games for Miss Jones. The point total was 185 points for Miss Jones to 177 for Miss Atkinson.

It can be safely said that none of the previous 11 women's contests (from 1887) was there such an exciting finish. To show the grand excitement of the contest and to tell why the crowded grand stand remained nearly filled until long after the dinner hour, it is but necessary to explain the score in the deciding moments.

Each of the plucky girls had won two sets,and in the 5th and deciding set the score stood :Miss Jones 5, Miss Atkinson 3. All Miss Jones had to do was win the set on hand. In it the score was 40 to 30 in her favor. All she needed was one point to win the game, set, match, and united States championship. Just one little point, and here is where Miss Jones' misfortunes commenced.

In the rally Miss Atkinson returned and the ball struck a ball not in play, lying in Miss Jones' court owing to the negligence of the umpires. The ball in play glanced off and shot along the ground, so that Miss Jones could not return it. This made the game "deuce" and Miss Atkinson won out.

This brought the score in games to 5 to 4 in Miss Jones' favor. Still she had the better chance. Four times in this set she needed but a point to win,and yet she never got it, Miss Atkinson "deucing" it and eventually scoring the two consecutive points. Once Miss Jones had "vantage" and needed but a point. Miss Atkinson's return went outside of the court and and the match then and there belonged to Miss Jones, but the umpire on that line failed to do his duty and decided, contrary to the fact, that the ball was in. This decision alone cost Miss Jones the match. This little Westerner deserves unlimited praise for her splendid showing in this, her first appearance in a US championship match without the age and experience of her opponent, lacking her physical condition and having been unwell for several days, she all but defeated a champion twice.

As to the quality of play, it was the best that has ever been put up at these tounaments. The rallies were often long and spirited and both played well and made some splendid strokes. Miss Atkinson went up to the net oftener and was very effective, but the game was distinctly a back court struggle. Both used a well-judged, hard, low fore-hand stroke with good effect,and did some remarkablt clever back hand work as well. As the club's poet, Mr. "Cliff" Patterson, put it:

Good shots on both sides followed fast
But some one had to yield at last.

One thing that told very material in Miss Atkinson's favor was physique. To use a masculine athletic term of condition, "She was hard as nails". She is light and very active and this enabled her to cover more ground than Miss Jones, whose stocky stature and weight were no inconsiderable handicap.

Atkinson d. Jones 6-3 5-7 6-4 2-6 7-5
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 05:22 AM
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Tonite's match was a shocker. On that final bad call in the 3rd set I let out a scream and my poor dog leapt from his sleep in terror! Absolutely disgusting. Perhaps the worst calling I have seen - and it all seemed to go against Serena. Poor girl.

Two matches that spring to mind are the 87 Wimbledon SF match Point (or was it 88) when Navratilova beat Evert, and the 1972 USO SF on match point when King b Court. Both were almost identical. In the 72 USO SF Court's ball looked clearly in (and both commentators agreed). The linesman did not make a call UNTIL after King threw her racket in the air as though she had won. Poor Margaret just stood there and wouldn't move for several seconds as she was shocked by the late change to the call.

But tonite was far worse than anything I have ever witnessed.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisvideos
Tonite's match was a shocker. On that final bad call in the 3rd set I let out a scream and my poor dog leapt from his sleep in terror! Absolutely disgusting. Perhaps the worst calling I have seen - and it all seemed to go against Serena. Poor girl.

Two matches that spring to mind are the 87 Wimbledon SF match Point (or was it 88) when Navratilova beat Evert, and the 1972 USO SF on match point when King b Court. Both were almost identical. In the 72 USO SF Court's ball looked clearly in (and both commentators agreed). The linesman did not make a call UNTIL after King threw her racket in the air as though she had won. Poor Margaret just stood there and wouldn't move for several seconds as she was shocked by the late change to the call.

But tonite was far worse than anything I have ever witnessed.

This was absolutely horrendous. To a great degree I have a lot of sympathy with the linesmen, you have a split second to make a decision and on close calls mistakes happen. Going by the rule you can see why often an umpire doesn't overrule because it is not a "clear error". But you do have to ask questions when someone in the chair can call a ball out from the far side of the court when it was a good 6" in.

I am not really a believer in consiracy theories but the final game beggars belief. Three "wrong calls" all against Serena Williams. 15-all instead of 0-30. Big difference.

I seem to remember a point in the second set of Navratilova/Evert Wimbledon semi in 1980 when at a crucial stage Chris hit a ball over the baseline, Martina almost stopped playing the point but eventually lost it. I think it was a genuine mistake and perhaps Martina blocked the linesman's view but it completely changed the course of that match and Chris went on to win the final set quite easily. I suppose this happened many times through history but something stinks about last night.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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I didn't see the match. For those that did, was it an exciting encounter, and was the tennis of a high quality? I find that the matches between even the top players today are a bit of a let down, and very patchy.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 09:25 AM
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I loved the match, for the quality and the drama. Jennifer was running all over the court retrieving so many balls - I thought she was amazing. However, I was rooting for Serena and was stunned by the number of critical bad calls she received. It really was anyone's match and a shame it was spoiled by the atrocious calls.

Serena made too many unforced errors for sure, but despite this, some of the rallies were very exciting indeed and I was on the edge of my seat for the last half of the match.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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I've seen one bad call here or there, but never 3 clearly wrong calls against the same player. I've never been a Serena fan and still won't be, but she handled it all with class last night. Missing one or two calls might be overlooked, but the one on the sidelines right in front of the umpire was ridiculous. I hope that Jennifer isn't blamed. She fought hard and it's not her job to straighten out the officiating. I was pulling for her, but it was not possible to enjoy the end result because I felt so sorry for Serena. 3 clearly wrong calls in one game -- all against her. Conspiracy? No.

I groaned when Evert's netcord shot was called out in the '88 Wimbledon SF, but it was one shot and it was close. Easy mistake. Last night was horrendous.

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris whiteside
This was absolutely horrendous. To a great degree I have a lot of sympathy with the linesmen, you have a split second to make a decision and on close calls mistakes happen. Going by the rule you can see why often an umpire doesn't overrule because it is not a "clear error". But you do have to ask questions when someone in the chair can call a ball out from the far side of the court when it was a good 6" in.

I am not really a believer in consiracy theories but the final game beggars belief. Three "wrong calls" all against Serena Williams. 15-all instead of 0-30. Big difference.

I seem to remember a point in the second set of Navratilova/Evert Wimbledon semi in 1980 when at a crucial stage Chris hit a ball over the baseline, Martina almost stopped playing the point but eventually lost it. I think it was a genuine mistake and perhaps Martina blocked the linesman's view but it completely changed the course of that match and Chris went on to win the final set quite easily. I suppose this happened many times through history but something stinks about last night.

I remember the 80 match you're talking about and it was set point for Evert. I also remember another bad call against Claudia Kohde on set point for Evert (!) in the SF Evert-Kohde in Australia in 85.
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 03:22 PM
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For those of you who didn't get to see the match between Serena and Jennifer last night it didn't come down to a bad line call, because Serena hit the backhand down the line, it landed inside the line and well inside the baseline, and Jennifer had no play on the ball and simply walked over to the ad court to receive serve- by her reaction clearly thinking it was a winner. The lineswoman put both hands down and signaled the ball was good. There was a plane flying over, and Serena waited until it passed, and then the umpire called the score wrong "Advantage Capriati". Serena looked stunned, then said to the umpire "Advantage Williams" and then looked at the umpire who then began shaking her head, clearly sticking with a wrongly reported score, and at that point deciding to make the overrule (which she never made prior to calling the incorrect score). Serena approached the umpire in disbelief, but the umpire stuck with the score that she called, and after informing Serena she was overruling the call, tried to get Serena to calm down. It was a circus, and not only could I not believe it, but Tracy Austin and John McEnroe both were confused, then John said "I've never seen anything like this", and went on to say how terrible it was that this had happened to Serena. The horrible thing is, the umpire never overruled the call- she simply stuck with her mistaken score calling instead and then back-tracked to say she was overruling afterwards. I'm still angry about it, and I don't get angry at line calls- hardly ever. This wasn't a bad line call, it was a bad and unfair decision from the chair to cover a mistake instead of correcting the score.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 03:39 PM
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Maybe someone can clear something up for me. I heard that during the 1995 US Open final, Seles hit a clear winning ace on set point and Steffi never spoke up. I have not seen that final since the day it was played so can't remember but I saw it brought up today on another board. Also what about Hingis v Graf in the 1999 French final? When Hingis crossed the net. Did Steffi correct any officials calls on that one? I am not getting on Steffi here those are just the two examples I can think of where line calls were controversial and the player possibly never spoke up.


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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raquel
Maybe someone can clear something up for me. I heard that during the 1995 US Open final, Seles hit a clear winning ace on set point and Steffi never spoke up. I have not seen that final since the day it was played so can't remember but I saw it brought up today on another board. Also what about Hingis v Graf in the 1999 French final? When Hingis crossed the net. Did Steffi correct any officials calls on that one? I am not getting on Steffi here those are just the two examples I can think of where line calls were controversial and the player possibly never spoke up.

The 1995 "ace" was out. Steffi was even visibly mad at Seles for protesting at all.
BTW, Seles only reached set point in the tie-breaker because of a bad line call AGAINST Steffi.

The controversial Hingis FO 1999 point was most probably out, too.
Hingis protested routinely, but when the lineswoman couldn't find the imprint on the clay Hingis took her chance & went beserk. To no avail ....
If you repeat the video tape in slow motion (and I did it on my 32-inch TV-screen) there is almost no doubt left that this ball didn't touch the line.
Hingis lead 2-0 in the 2nd set, it was the FIRST point in the 3rd game. 30 minutes LATER Hingis served for the match leading 5-4. But lost.
Nevertheless deluded Hingis worshippers take this point as a lame excuse for their fav's melt-down. Almost Selesian-style .....

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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 04:36 PM
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As happy as I was for Jennifer to finally get a break on a big match at the US Open, and as much as I was rooting for her, it did take away from her victory the bad calls Serena received.
On the replay, you can see Jenny watching the ball land, then looking at the linesman to see the confirmation that the ball was good. It's not the players responsibility to get involved in the line calls, and one has to wonder, if the situation was reversed, and it was Jennifer that received all those bad line calls, if she would have handled herself with as much class as Serena did. Lets face it, Jennifer is known to get hot
over calls pretty easily. Still I'm glad she won this match, I just hope she's not flat
in the SF like she was against Myskina in the French SF.
About the '88 Wimby SF, as I watch the final point being replayed, if Chrissie had
just taken a second to look at the linesman, she would have seen that the ball
was called out, the linesman clearly used his hand jesture to say out. Then she
would have known immediatley that it was out. Believe me, no one wanted to
have Chris win that match than me, ok mabye daze11 but thats it!, but if I'm a
player hitting a ball that close to the line, I'm going to look at the linesman after
for confirmation.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 04:51 PM
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I was also pretty upset about the match. We all understand that the umps and lines persons are human and of course can make mistakes, but last night was just awful. Now, I can't say for sure Serena would have won had those bad calls not been made, but still it ruins the match. I also can't help but wonder how Jen can be so thrilled about it. I would feel guilty and have to go to confession and say about 5 Hail Marys and an Our Father to at least try to feel a bit better. Jennifer didn't seemed bothered in the least. I realize Jen didn't cheat to win, those calls weren't her fault, but still a little guilt was in order.

Last edited by RoanHJ; Sep 8th, 2004 at 05:29 PM.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raquel
Maybe someone can clear something up for me. I heard that during the 1995 US Open final, Seles hit a clear winning ace on set point and Steffi never spoke up. I have not seen that final since the day it was played so can't remember but I saw it brought up today on another board. Also what about Hingis v Graf in the 1999 French final? When Hingis crossed the net. Did Steffi correct any officials calls on that one? I am not getting on Steffi here those are just the two examples I can think of where line calls were controversial and the player possibly never spoke up.
Martina Navratilova and Mary Carillo were in the booth during that 1995 final, and I'll let Martina's words explain better than mine:

"Steffi has always been very fair in the past, which leads me to believe the ball was out."

And Mary replied "I agree, if she thought it was good, she would have walked".

Seles fans wanted so badly for Monica to win that match, for sentimental reasons (understandable, to say the least), however, line calls and sentiment do not go together. Monica Seles, much as I love watching her play, has always screeched and squealed about every little line call throughout her career, whether she was right, wrong, or unsure. At one point in the early 90s she was as bad as Mary Pierce AND Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in this regard. She wanted the call, and started to pitch a hissy-fit, but in reality, the ball was out. The difference between that call and the Serena thing last night is that the linesman in 95 called the serve out. Last night, the lineswoman called the ball good, Capriati knew it was good, everyone saw it was good, and the umpire called the score wrong, and then stuck by her mistake (after it registered on the scoreboard) instead of correcting the score. HUGE difference.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2004, 06:16 PM
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difference is also that most controversial goals are close to the line. serena's ball was not on the line. it was not even that close to the line. It's definitely the most ridiculous call since the andre-haas match in wimbledon 98 (with the exception that haas didn't lose that match of course) that I saw (andre hit a meter out and got the point)
Bad calls happen but this was not even a call. The referee just gave Cappy the point. Maybe a case of a short memory disorder
and also in the last game, 3 or maybe even 4 times. Serena was smart and just shaked her head, but you could see the tears in her eyes. She maybe just should have refused to play on, but then she would have gotten the blame probably
If this had happened to Cappy worse things had happened (and no I don't blame her. Only the referee. It was her job afterall)

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of the truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night

Last edited by irma; Sep 8th, 2004 at 06:29 PM.
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